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Ruud van Nistelrooy wrongly believes Roy Keane was involved in his greatest goal

Roy Keane

Ruud van Nistelrooy has picked his best goal for Manchester United.

Van Nistelrooy spent five years at Old Trafford and scored 150 goals in 219 games for the Red Devils but one stands alone as the best in the mind of the Dutchman.

The former Netherlands international selected his solo strike against Fulham in the 2002/03 season as the pick of the bunch but he may have misremembered it.

Van Nistelrooy, who has recently spoken about Roy Keane’s reaction when he joined the club, famously turned on the halfway line against the Cottagers after receiving the ball into feet in the middle of the pitch.

18 years after the goal, Van Nistelrooy jokingly praised the assist for his solo goal but he wrongly credited Keane with the pass when, in fact, the Irishman was not even in the matchday squad that afternoon and it was Nicky Butt who gave him the ball.

“I think my best goal I scored in my whole career – not just for United – was against Fulham at Old Trafford,” Van Nistelrooy told the United Review.

“The one where I ran from the halfway line and scored. I think that was the best moment of my whole career, looking back on it.

“Of course, I always scored a lot of goals inside the penalty area and this one was totally different to all the others because of where I first picked up possession. Normally it would be a finish with one touch, two touches, maybe three touches, but this goal was nothing like them.

“Looking back, it was a great assist from Roy Keane! I got the ball in the centre-circle, I turned and just started dribbling… and I didn’t stop.

“I showed a change of pace, ran through two midfielders, advanced on to one of the centre-backs, went past him and then, as I came into the penalty area, I took a touch to the left but then immediately cut it back to the right and just pushed the ball towards the far corner.

Ruud van Nistelrooy

“Because I’d taken on the finish almost mid-step, the keeper had no time to set himself; he couldn’t react and the ball rolled into the net. That’s what made the goal: cutting it back and really surprising the goalkeeper with that. In my mind, I was like: woah! I was so happy with that goal.

“Then came the celebrations. Whenever I scored and I had the United fans shouting, ‘Ruud! Ruud! Ruud!’ at me, it was an amazing feeling. From day one, before I even touched the first ball, the crowd was already singing my name.

Van Nistelrooy

“That feeling was a long time coming for me. I injured my knee badly in 2000, the day after I was originally supposed to sign for United. I eventually joined a year later, so it was already special just to be a United player, but then things started amazingly for me.

“I scored twice against Fulham – past Edwin, of course – at the Stretford End on my Premier League debut, and all the forces just felt like they came together and pushed me to a higher level.

“The connection with the fans was one of those forces. It pushes you. You want it all the time, to have the stadium shouting your name. It’s an amazing feeling; the best thing in the world.”

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